Crowds of 40,000 celebrate birthday

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The Independent Online

Forty thousand people turned out to catch a glimpse of the Queen Mother on her 100th birthday yesterday.

Forty thousand people turned out to catch a glimpse of the Queen Mother on her 100th birthday yesterday.

Many of them had camped on The Mall overnight, waiting to see her appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

As messages from all over the world flooded in, Terry Hutt, 65, delivered his flowers personally to Clarence House wearing a T-shirt bearing a photograph of himself standing next to Her Majesty.

"I met her when I was five years old so I have become a good friend. She looks fantastic. Each year she gets older but she's always the same. She was radiant," he said.

The Queen Mother rode to Buckingham Palace in an open carriage decorated in her racing colours with garlands of gold and blue flowers, and pulled by four greys.

A 41-gun royal salute was fired from Green Park, and at exactly 12.30pm the Queen Mother, smiling broadly and walking with the aid of two sticks, made her way out on to the balcony to rousing cheers from the crowds assembled below. A sea of flags waved as three generations of the Royal Family joined her. Then, as she stood with just her daughters on either side, the Grenadier Guards started playing "Congratulations".

The trio then made their way inside to a birthday lunch while the crowds continued to cheer outside.

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